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Silence: The Currency Of Power

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The Currency Of Power

Edited by Maria-Luisa Achino-Loeb

168 pages, bibliog, index

ISBN  978-1-84545-130-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (December 2005)

ISBN  978-1-84545-131-8 $27.95/£22.95 Pb Published (December 2005)

eISBN 978-1-78238-749-7 eBook

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“The overall message and demonstration that silences are heterogeneous and essential formations within cultural meaning is an important contribution to scholarship on power.”  ·  American Ethnologist

Silence, says [the author], allows us to belief that the un-said is non-existent: hence the close relationship between silence and language and between silence and ideology. This research promises a radical renewal in the study and in the very way we think about the connection between silence and language.”  ·  Italian Review


This book is about silence and power and how they interact. It argues that only by studying how silence works—how it is implicated in the construction of meaning—can we arrive at the elusive roots of power in all its dimensions. Silence becomes the currency of power by delineating the margins or what we perceive and through a sleight of hand wherein behaviors undertaken in the service of self-interest appear instead as inevitable and devoid of human agency. The theoretical load of this argument is carried by vivid ethnographic material dealing with music, linguistic behavior, racial conflicts, work dislocations, and the construction of anthropological subjects and texts.

Maria-Luisa Achino-Loeb, PhD, teaches at New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Studies where she continues to develop courses on silence. She has done research with Waldensians and other minorities within religious groups. Her work has been published in journals such as American Anthropologist and Theory in Psychology, among others. She currently co-chairs the Advisory Council of the Anthropology Section, New York Academy of Sciences.

Subject: General Anthropology General Cultural Studies Sociology


Introduction: Silence as the Currency of Power
Maria-Luisa Achino-Loeb


Chapter 1. Silence in Music
William O. Beeman

Chapter 2. Silence and the Imperatives of Identity
Maria-Luisa Achino-Loeb

Chapter 3. Language Policies and the Erasure of Multilingualism in South Africa
Susan E. Cook


Chapter 4. Strategic Alterity and Silence in the Promotion of California’s Proposition 187 and of the Confederate Battle Flag in South Carolina
Ann E. Kingsolver

Chapter 5. No/ma(i)ds: Silenced Subjects in Philippine Migration
Pauline Gardiner Barber

Chapter 6. The Muzzled Saint: Racism, Cultural Censorship, and Religion in Urban Brazil
Robin E. Sheriff


Chapter 7. Between Silences and Culture: A Partisan Anthropology
Gerald Sider

Chapter 8. Silences of the Field
James W. Fernandez

Author Index
Subject Index

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